Well, I wanted to make a video discussing my birth story for you guys so I could just talk through everything – it feels more personal that way to me – buttttt baby girl has other plans. She’s a fussy one and really doesn’t nap well unless I’m holding her. SO, after attempting to film once and not being able to get through it, I decided a blog post may be best. She’s currently laying in my lap as type this up lol.
But anyway, let’s get this thing started.
On August 28, 2019 at about 11:00 am at 39 weeks pregnant I arrived at the hospital to be induced to have my first child. We went in and got settled while we waited for the doc to come in and tell us what the first step was. I wore my comfy sweats and t shirt there and sat on the bed anxiously waiting. The doc came in about 11:30ish and, from what I remember, the first thing they did was put in an IV to get me started on antibiotics as I had tested positive for Strep B (very common and nothing to worry about, you just have to have antibiotics for about 4 hours before giving birth). At my last OB apt before being induced I was about 4 cm dilated so I was hopeful that things were going to move along relatively quickly.
She informed me that we were given the go ahead for me to have clear liquids while on the epidural in case my blood sugar went low and I needed juice. This was a HUGE weight lifted off my shoulders because it was something I was stressing about for a while. I had originally been told that I wasn’t going to be allowed to have any liquids as it was the hospitals policy to only allow ice chips. I knew that some hospitals allowed clear liquids while on an epidural (including things like apple juice which would help cure a low blood sugar) so a few weeks before I gave birth I had asked about this being a possibility for me too. My doc had put in a message to the anesthesiologist to call me to discuss this however when they did, the woman basically said it would be up to whoever was on duty at the time of my labor and would also be up to the nurses and whether or not they were comfortable allowing this. So, as you can see none of this really eased my anxiety. My main goal for this labor was to stay on my insulin pump and off of an insulin and/or glucose drip. My hospital had a policy that if I needed a glucose drip then I would have to go on an insulin drip as well. I did not like the idea of any of this because these nurses and doctors (no offense) don’t know my body and my insulin needs like I do. Especially since I was on Humalog U200 during my pregnancy which is a more concentrated version of U100 that I would normally be taking if I wasn’t pregnant, my calculations for what I would need if on a drip would be a bit more complicated. Nevertheless, after some tears and anxiety, I had to let things go and realize that this may be out of my control and I may have to just accept it and be on an insulin/glucose drip. I was given a sheet to take with me with all my calculations, my chart was updated, and the rest was going to be out of my hands. SO as you can see when my doc came in and told me I was going to be allowed to have the clear liquids when I went on the epidural, I was SO happy.
I was started on the antibiotics and then basically just had to hang out for a few hours before we started the pitocin. I had to be on the antibiotics for 4 hours before having the baby but from what I remember they started the pitocin after 2 or 3 hours of being on the antibiotics. Pitocin is a synthetic form of oxytocin which your body releases naturally when you go into labor (from what I understand, I’m not a doc lol). So we started the pitocin and again just sort of waited. The doc came back after an hour or two and did a cervical exam to see how far I had dilated. I had dilated about another centimeter or so and at this point I was having some mild contractions but nothing too serious. My doctor had told me that if I wanted to I could get the epidural before they broke my water if I wanted because things usually move along pretty quickly from there and that’s where it can get painful. At first I thought that yes I did want to do that, but after I was checked after a few hours and had only dilated another centimeter or so I decided I wanted to wait.
So we hung out for a few more hours allowing the pitocin to do its job. My husband Jonathan was there of course and my mom, my sister, my aunt and actually my dad ended up coming down too! We chatted, played around with the peanut balls lol, raided the kitchen of coffee and snacks, walked the hallways and just hung out. I was sure to have a nice meal before I knew I was going to have my epidural and wouldn’t be able to eat. So naturally, like any good Mainer, I had an Amatos Italian.
Around 4:30/5 the doctor came back and broke my water. I kid you not, they basically take a crochet needle and pop the little sack that the baby’s hanging out in lol. It doesn’t hurt at all but it was the weirdest feeling ever afterwards when I’m sitting on the bed and a gush of fluid comes out. It feels like you peed yourself. But then I got up and sat on the ball and there was a TON more fluid that came out then. It was such a weird feeling. After they broke my water, the contractions started getting pretty intense, long, and close together. By far one of the most painful things I have felt, but it was reassuring knowing that once I got through a contraction I would have a good 30-45 second break before another one came on. 😅
Once the contractions were coming on pretty strong and frequently, I decided it was time to get the epidural, probably around 6:00 or 6:30 by this time. The anesthesiologist came in to place the epidural. You have to basically stay as still as possible and be bent over your bed while they are doing it. So as I’m mid contractions trying to have this very large needle placed in my back I’m pretty sure they messed it up and had to do it again! It was somewhat painful the first time they did it and then they had to do it again. I was nervous that it wasn’t going to work properly since the placement was wrong at first but after it was in they had me lay down and within probably 5-10 minutes or so I felt some relief. It doesn’t make you feel loopy or out of it at all, it basically just numbs your lower body and relieves the pain from the contractions. I honestly couldn’t feel any of the contractions anymore, it was so much better after that. They have you lay on your sides and they tell you when you feel like you need to poop let us know because that means it’s time to push.
Within 20-30 minutes or so I was having that feeling that I needed to poop (and yes, I did…it happens to pretty much everyone lol they just get rid of it quickly and move on) and it was time to start pushing. They tell you when you have an epidural you shouldn’t really feel anything afterwards except for some pressure when you start pushing. Again, I didn’t really feel anything but I did feel that pressure they were telling me I would. It wasn’t necessarily painful though, just basically a little reminder that I was pushing a baby out of my vagina lol. They asked me if I wanted a mirror to watch the baby come out and I said yes! I shocked myself because I never thought I would want to see this but it actually helps you to be able to see the baby coming out and stay motivated to keep pushing. Once they could see the baby’s head, they asked me if I wanted to touch the head and I said yes to that too – something else I thought I wouldn’t want to do. Side note – it was super squishy! 😂
Within about 45 minutes or so and a handful of pushes later, Scarlett Alexandra Kirby was born on 8/28/19 at 8:22pm weighing 8lbs 1 oz with a full head of hair! It was the most amazing thing when they pulled her out – Jonathan was ecstatic and I said “is it a boy or a girl??” because I couldn’t see and at first I thought the umbilical cord was a penis haha but Jonathan shouted “it’s a girl, it’s a girl” and tears filled his eyes and then of course mine as well when they placed her on my chest. Jonathan cut the umbilical cord and they began working on cleaning me up – yes I had two stitches – while I held our sweet baby girl. We instantly knew her name was going to be Scarlett because we had this name picked out for years, I’m talking before we even got married, for if we ever had a baby girl.
After Scarlett was born she had to have her blood sugars checked for the next 12 hours because I am type one. Her first blood sugar check was 90 minutes after she was born and it was 48 I believe? It needed to be over 45 so that was good. After that things sort of took a turn for the worse… or at least it seemed that way. The next two blood sugars measured low on the meter and she was given oral glucose. However, for both of them, when they sent her blood to the lab to double check that it was in fact low (they did this for every check), it came back that it actually was not low. This happened two or three times with the meter being inaccurate and the lab coming back with her blood sugar being normal. One of the last times this happened was one of her last checks and the meter said that her blood sugar was 27 when it needed to be 50. They told me she was going to have to go to the NICU to have an IV of glucose since she had already had two oral glucose gels and they seemingly weren’t working well enough. This was so scary for me and I felt like such a failure. I was confused because my A1C had been so good, in the 5s, throughout my entire pregnancy. The reason babies of type one mamas can often have low blood sugars (to the best of my understanding) is because of this: the whole time she was in the womb her little body was producing its own insulin to keep up with what my blood sugars were. So if I had a higher blood sugar than her body was used to, her body would produce more insulin to keep her blood sugar stable. So then when she is born, her little body is used to making more insulin than she actually needs and therefore can cause her to have low blood sugars until her body has time to regulate and make the appropriate amount of insulin she needs. So when they told me her blood sugar was 27 I felt so bad and like it was all my fault that her blood sugar was low and she was going to have to go to the NICU. Well 15 minutes or so went by and the nurse hadn’t come back yet to get her to take her to the NICU so we were starting to wonder what was going on. Well it turned out that when they sent her blood to the lab to have it checked there, it again was reading completely fine at 52. So basically we had all of these scares for nothing. In reality she ended up having only one actual slightly low blood sugar but all the rest of them were completely fine. It was certainly a roller coaster of emotions for the first 24 hours or so of her life but I was so happy to find out that she was actually okay. It made me realize how lucky we were to have a healthy baby and how fortunate I was to have a healthy pregnancy. It also made me realize that I am going to be worried sick about this little girl no matter what for the rest of my dang life. 🤣
Here’s a few pics of her from the first few days after arriving into this world!
I had posted on my Instagram stories for you guys to leave me your questions you had about her birth so here is what the most commonly asked questions were:
F. A. Q. s
- How were your blood sugars during labor and delivery?
- I kept my CGM (Dexcom) on the entire time I was in labor. I watched my cgm continuously throughout the entire process. The nurses would come in and ask me what my blood sugar was occasionally. During actual active labor and after I had received my epidural I did start to drop a bit so I had I believe two small juice boxes before I actual began pushing. When I was actually pushing my blood sugars stayed right around 140s which is right where I wanted them to be! Other than that I stayed in range pretty much the whole time between 70-120.
- Did you or the nurses control/manage blood sugars during labor?
- I managed my blood sugars myself during labor however the nurses would frequently check in and ask me what my blood sugars were by having me check my dexcom. I believe they did an actual finger stick maybe once or twice just to make sure it was accurate but to be honest I can’t exactly remember – it’s all sort of a blur now and I’m doing the best to remember everything!
- Was there anything special that had to be done because of your type one diabetes?
- Other than the requests I made ahead of time with the epidural and making sure I could have clear liquids there really wasn’t anything different between by birth experience and any other woman’s!
- How have blood sugars been since breastfeeding?
- I think I will do a whole post on breastfeeding and diabetes if you guys would be interested in that, but in the beginning it was a major struggle. Nursing and pumping made my sugars drop so it was hard to keep my numbers from being like a roller coaster.
- Do you think Scarlett will be type one diabetic?
- No I don’t. The odds of her having type one diabetes are actually not that much more likely than anyone else’s chances. The chances increase a bit if its the father that has diabetes instead of the mother. If the mother is 25 or younger the chances are 1 in 25 and if over 25 years old the chances drop to 1 in 100 which is essentially the same as the average person (I am 26). The chances are slightly higher if the parent with diabetes was diagnosed before age 11 and I was 10 when I was diagnosed. So, there are of course some chance that she will be diagnosed with type one diabetes but the chances are not that much more increased than anyone else’s. (This info can all be found on Joslin website).
- Did you get an epidural?
- Yes! See the details above for more on that.
- Things you wish you had known?
- Yes there was one thing I wish I had known more about. I wish I had known more about the fact that Scarlett could have low blood sugars and it’s pretty common but that it would be okay even if she did have to go to the NICU. It was very scary for me and I even knew beforehand that this was a possibility I just didn’t think it would happen to me because my A1C had been so well controlled throughout my entire pregnancy.
- Were you able to keep your pump on?
- Yes! I kept my Omnipod pump on for the entire labor and delivery process! I am so happy I was able to do this, it was a huge goal of mine. I changed my site after delivering her and updated my pump with the changes to my basal and I: C ratios.
- How did you keep your blood sugars stable during delivery?
- I kept a close eye on my dexcom throughout the entire time and if I noticed I was dropping at all I would take little sips of apple juice. My sister also watched my dexcom for me while I was in active labor and pushing! As I said above too I also made sure to have a good meal before I had my epidural and knew I wasn’t going to be able to eat.
- Did you express colostrum before birth?
- I attempted to express some but I didn’t really know how to do it properly and couldn’t really get much/any. So basically, no I did not.
- How were her blood sugars after birth?
- From what I remember my blood sugars were pretty good afterwards. My insulin needs dropped by HALF as soon as I delivered Scarlett. I had to change my pump settings immediately afterwards.
In the end I am very happy and feel very fortunate to have had such a smooth and easy labor. I feel very lucky that my body was already preparing to go into labor and I was pretty far dilated before actually going in to be induced. We’ve all heard horror stories of women being in labor for many hours if not days when being induced because their body just wasn’t ready to go into labor yet. However, I will say that no matter what happens, if you’re reading this and you’re going to be induced, you will get through it all. It can be a hard process and of course there is pain involved but in the end you don’t remember that stuff. You remember the way you felt when they placed that baby on your chest and you looked into their eyes for the very first time.
How did your labor go?! Comment down below or on my Instagram. I’d love to have an open discussion about this to help other ladies feel less scared about when it’s their time. Plus I’m always here if you ever want to shoot me an email or a DM with any questions! 💕